Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Smoke your pipes

Last Sunday Denis and I spent a lazy afternoon sitting outside a coffee shop reading and people watching. I enjoy imagining their lives and wondering if I’d make it in life if I were them. At a small table directly across from us just a few feet away on the sidewalk a hip young couple, whose eccentricities were obvious, sat down – a feast for the eyes. I especially liked the guy’s shiny leather huraches and her black leotards and spiky heels. He got out a pipe, filled it, tamped it down and lit it with a vintage lighter. Then he surprised me by leaning toward her cupping his  hand over hers to light her pipe. As they sat smoking, she pulled out a small chess board and they became engrossed in a game.
 It was a busy street, lots of pedestrians and traffic, many stopping at Izzy’s Ice Cream shop a few doors up. The pace was slow and peaceful. Then, the parking spot opened right in front of us and four Harley hogs growled into the space and backed in at an angle so their rear wheels touched the curb. Although I can put a story on a person, I don’t like to think of people tightly woven into stereo types simply because they ride Harleys or wear huraches. Perhaps I kid myself. These four looked like aging gang members. The one who bumped the edge of the sidewalk about two feet from where the couple sat nearly flattened them as he revved his engine so it backfired and coughed a stinking black cloud over all of us. As he swung his leg off  we heard him say, “There, that’ll teach you to respect me.”

All I did was raise my eyebrows, but my imagined response was far more violent. Such small incidents help me understand why people go to war. I can’t help but think of so many places in the world that desperately need peace and justice and it’s not coming as far as I can see. But there will come a day, please, God. “The Lord will cause men to ehar his majestic voice and will make them see his arm coming down with raging anger and consuming fire.” (Isaiah 30:30)

1 comment:

Denis Haack said...

It was one of those rare moments that seems to clarify things as if in a flash of light. Two people simply enjoying their afternoon, and one another, while a stranger, obviously insecure for all his bluster, interrupts.